I glanced at the picture as I passed it in the hallway. As it caught my eye, I stepped back for a better look. Nothing special. Not a masterpiece. It didn’t belong in a museum. But it captured me in such a way, as a sunset does when we take the time to observe it. I’m sure it just hangs there going unnoticed for hours on end, but I could not pull away from it. My eyes searched for every detail, as if the print held more secrets than what I could see. The painting was nothing extraordinary, just a stairwell with light shining through from the top. It pulled me in, as if I would begin to ascend the stairs at any moment. They were slightly curved, to where you could not tell exactly where they led. Something was so familiar about it- an image in my mind that I never painted.
As I left the office, the picture still held my thoughts captive as I thought of what it all could mean. The journey of life. A Journey of Faith. The steps we climb as we move forward in life. Those next few steps that await us as our Faith in Him increases. But they are steps that must be taken. Uncertain to be sure, but Faith requires us to put the next foot out and step forward.
As I thought of how this artwork could apply to our lives, I thought about all that had been going on in my life. Moments where Doubts reigned and Faith was small. More questions than answers, as usual. Doubting God’s plan for me, Believing He was Trustworthy in the next. Trusting, wavering, certain and unsure. A ball of emotions, and tangled Faith. Messy, searching, hopeless, Trusting. My actions chasing my beliefs, questioning my doubts as well as my Faith. It seemed like every week had been a new battle. An exercise in Faith-building, were I to let it be. Shakeable Faith in a God who had brought me through so much already. Doubting that He could do whatever He wanted to. A faith so small that a mustard seed would dwarf it. A time of testing, of Faithfulness to me by my God. A time when I needed more Grace and understanding, when I was lacking in motivation and had little left in the tank.
While we may not always recognize God at work in our lives, it is true that He is. When we can count on little else, we can count on Him. Sometimes pushing through, sucking it up and clawing our way out of the pits is the only way to jump start our Faith and Belief again. Not that He has ever forgotten us, but that we have lost sight of Him. Not that we do the work, but that our Faith requires action, notably an active Trust in the God Who Loves Us. In those times when we cannot sense His Presence and He may have withdrawn from us, He still has not left us as orphans. It has been said that when we cannot see His Hand, that we can trust His Heart and I believe that He does allow these times of turmoil to help us advance, lift our leg and step up to the next level of Trust He has for us.
We are broken. We are battered, bruised and worn down. We grow weary in well-doing. We fall apart and lose our peace. And while all of this is true, we can exchange each of these items for His attributes. We can look to Him and gain renewed strength for the journey. We can rest in Him as we need it. Drawing us into a deeper time of Trust in Him, we may be perplexed at all that He allows. We can be confused as to the why questions, but as we keep climbing, we can gain understanding and wisdom for these trying times.
One thing has become clear to me as I have attempted to walk with Him; we may not see what He was doing until we have climbed the next step or maybe even the next few steps. If hindsight is 20/20 and we are better able to understand His plans after the fact, then we must endeavor to keep scratching, to keep climbing. Faith would have us to do no less than this. As one of my favorite writers has said: “Faith means believing in advance, what will only make sense in reverse.” It‘s just the fact that we want for our trying times to be over with, so that we can get to the part where we will understand it.
For all of the things that we lack-- control, patience, faith—we make up for them with our fears, doubts and worries. But our Savior spoke so much about each one of these things, and He has the answers for us in the rough seasons. We must remember to keep clinging and holding onto Him for our Hope. Keep walking, for our Faith will not increase if we run the opposite way. Keep Believing in the One who casts out doubts, fears and worries. Keep Trusting in the One who has Always been Trustworthy and has Never broken a Promise. He is the One who will always be with us, will never leave us and will not forsake us, no matter what!